SANTA GERTRUDIS IBIZA
When I considered spending the winter of 2014 in Ibiza - after my London life felt like falling to pieces (read my story here) - I consulted my best friend Dr. Google which part of the island would suit me most. I have never been here and I didn't know anyone, but I knew there was the party side of the island, and there was this other side...
Artistic, bohemian, sophisticated & freedomlicious.
And that pretty much was the summary of what I read about Santa Gertrudis.
Further google research found me a lovely little finca available for winter rental, inbetween Santa Gertrudis and San Lorenzo, and that was it - I hopelessly fell in love with the spot.
Although I am now living in Sant Miquel and loving it, Santa Gertrudis is still my favourite village to meet both friends and clients. Anytime of the day - whether it’s an early morning meeting with my laptop or a romantic dinner followed by a leisurely stroll around the village.
Santa Gertrudis is bang on in the middle of the island, which makes it super convenient as a meeting point wherever you are coming from. It’s the most beautiful setting, steeped in tradition and surrounded by rich countryside, with a large main square that houses the whitewashed church and just about the right amount of bars, restaurants and shops. Not too many, and not too few.
Whatever your taste and style, you have plenty of choice, from traditional to contemporary.
Even in high summer Santa Gertrudis never gets loud or crowded. The atmosphere is just lovely, oozing elegance and a relaxed holiday vibe.
It’s all about quality and diversity in this delightful village.
Although Santa Gertrudis has expanded rapidly over the years, its authentic and romantic charme remains. Smart modern villas now line new streets. The village square has had a makeover and is now a pedestrian friendly plaza. Supremely stylish cafes, bars and restaurants have joined traditional Ibicenco establishments as the village's eatery scene evolved into the foodie destination it is today.
The art community
Santa Gertrudis is also the home from home for many new residents from Europe and beyond who have brought a Bohemian style of living to the village.
Many artists, sculptors and musicians have settled here over the years and their works are everywhere – in galleries and most famously inside Bar Costa, where penniless artists in the 1960’s hung out. Being free but broke, they were swapping paintings for food which are now covering Bar Costa’s walls from ground to ceiling. It’s like the coolest art gallery without actually being an art gallery - hanging art competing with hanging hams for space. It’s brilliant and just so… well, artistic.
However, people now living in and around Santa Gertrudis are not broke anymore. In fact, it is one of the most expensive spots on the island to buy property. Unfortunately I missed the boat but I shall keep dreaming...
Restaurants & Bars
You are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating in Santa Gertrudis.
If you fancy traditional head over to Bar Costa - the oldest bar and, as mentioned above, an institution in the village, serving Ibicenco classics like jamon serrano, bacodillos, manchego cheese and a lot of ham. A lot! While the food isn’t quite digestible for me it’s definitely a fabulous place to hang out.
The über-cool vegan restaurant Wild Beets is paving the way for the health conscious with an eclectic menu of raw and cooked dishes from breakfast to dinner. The innovative plant-based dishes draw trendy foodies from all over the island for Cliff Grubin’s crisp, clean and very Instagram-friendly food.
Musset is always a winner anytime of the day, with plenty of healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner options available. They have a great juice and smoothie menu, and the homemade carrot cake is to die for. When my mum comes to visit me from Germany she would not leave the island without having had at least one slice of Musset cake during her holidays. The terrace is a great spot for people watching, and in high summer - ooh there's aircon inside (I'm writing this in August).
For grandly innovative sushi, ceviche and tempura head over to the terrace of Gitano, another incredibly beautiful spot in the village. They also have a very long list of mezcal cocktails.
For a special treat try Finca La Plaza on the main square. The garden setting is utterly romantic, creating an intimate environment even when the restaurant is fully booked. The tasteful menu is a little on the pricier side but you get what you pay for. It's mainly local and seasonal produce cooked to perfection. As they say themselves, it's food to be enjoyed slowly and in great company.
My latest discovery is the gorgeous restaurant Vivo. Super beautiful but not quite as elegant as Finca La Plaza, which actually makes it perfect if you’re not planning to propose to anyone. A relaxed meal with family or friends is wonderful here. The garden setting is marvelous and the food is right up my street. Simple, fresh and extremely tasty. Great kids menu too, by the way.
But maybe save your dessert as we are blessed with an amazing ice-cream parlour in Santa Gertrudis which is open until late evening. You cannot miss it as you’ll see a long queue of both kids and grown-ups getting their sugar fix.
Last but not least there's Picadeli if you just want a quick coffee and a deliciously wholesome take-away. Being part of the La Paloma family everything in this cute deli is exceptionally fresh and tasty.
And then there are so many other lovely restaurants in and around Santa Gertrudis, mentioning them all would explode this post. But you get the idea, from simple tapas to sophisticated dining experiences, I can guarantee you that you will find what you are looking for.
Shopping is a delight in Santa Gertrudis. With arts and craft shops, homeware and an eclectic mix of clothing and accessories there is plenty of retail therapy whatever your style and budget.
Es Cucons has the most beautiful range of homeware, as well as clothes and kid’s stuff. Great place to buy presents.
If you like silver jewellery and anything that sparkles then Angels Ibiza will make you feel like a kid in a sweet shop. It is so tempting as it’s unbelievably well priced. I had to ban myself from going in there.
For more exclusive jewellery you will find Nino D’Agata’s eponymous store tucked in to a neat little spot on the main square. Together with his wife, Barbara Hartmann, the Sicilian jeweller makes classically minded but contemporary pieces, influenced by his decades of travel. The white isle is his home since the 1990s so of course he draws inspiration from Ibiza's magic beauty. Each piece is hand-crafted, and he’s especially adept at integrating family stones into his designs.
The Rose is a fabulous fashion boutique/art gallery. Highlights include co-owner Claudina Damonte’s hand-sewn silk dresses and, on the other side, bold paintings by her business partner Aldo Kodac.
For cheap and cheerful head over to the colourful boutique Aguas Blancas Ibiza, where you'll find a large range of colourful bohemian-style clothes and accessories, as well as beautiful rugs, cushion covers, blankets etc. etc.
Right next to it you have the not-so-cheap but equally cheerful gallery/boutique Tanit Dreams with an incredibly beautiful and utterly stylish range.
Taking over the location from the bookstore Libro Azul we now have a new kid in town - the very cool Galeria Tambien, showcasing original furniture and ceramics from the 1940's to the 1970's. It's a retro lovers' paradise.
Wine connoisseurs delight in Somm, Anders Enkvist’s super-cool wine shop which opened in 2017 just behind Wild Beets. It supplies many of the island’s best restaurants, hosts regular tastings, and is the perfect place to pick up tipples for your villa party.
And let’s not forget the enormous homeware extravaganzas just outside of Santa Gertrudis at Sluiz. But be warned, you can spend hours in there admiring the abundance of gloriously over-the-top stuff. It’s bright, bold, colourful and just beyond cool.
If you want to crash after a long evening of glorious food and retail therapy, Hotel Gatzara is right in the middle of the village overlooking the square. The hotel is a cool, clean space, offering you a luxurious but still affordable stay in the heart of Santa Gertrudis.
So Santa Gertrudis - there you have it.
Writing this felt like writing a love letter to my favourite village on this magical island. Hanging around the square, whether it’s just for a coffee or a full-on dinner affair, is a constant reminder just how lucky and grateful I am to live here.
have a slice of my cake and soak up the very special ambience of this very special village.